Sunday, May 18 8:30 AM-9:30AM
Chair: Roberto Camassa, Los Alamos National Laboratory Ballroom I, II, III - Level B

Lagrangian Transport in Mesoscale Ocean Structures

Much activity in the ocean is mediated by mesoscale structures, such as meandering jets and vortex rings. How these structures share fluid, and thus fluid properties, with the ambient ocean, and how they transport fluid between different parts of their own internal structure, is crucial in estimating and understanding their impact on ocean properties at all scales. Quantifying such transport is a problem in dynamical systems, but one that poses many new challenges because simple analytic models are far too crude to offer us any real understanding. Recent progress on the development of techniques for transport studies within realistic numerical models will be discussed. Comparisons will be given between the extent of Lagrangian transport predicted by these models for structures such as the Gulf Stream and transport across the Gulf Stream by other mechanisms, such as ring detachment. Recent work on considerations of viscosity-induced transport suggests some surprising conclusions as to the dominant mode of transport out of meandering jets. This latter work involves a Melinkov calculation on the perturbed velocity field, about which little is known other than it satisfies a certain PDE.

Christopher K. R. T. Jones
Division of Applied Mathematics
Brown University

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TMP, 4/3/97